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Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health

Pilot Projects

Overview

SWCOEH Pilot Projects Research Training Program

The goal of the Pilot Projects Research Training Program is to enhance Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (SWCOEH) regional outreach efforts in research training and to foster stronger inter-institutional ties in occupational health research within Public Health Region 6 (PHR 6) (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas). The objective of this program is to provide a support mechanism for pilot research projects initiated by:

  • Research Trainee Awards: Graduate doctoral students or postdoctoral fellows in an occupational health and safety-related discipline.
  • Junior Investigator Awards: New investigators with research interests in the general area of occupational health and safety. Junior investigators are defined as faculty who have not served as PI on any Public Health Service (PHS)-supported research grants other than a R03, R15, R21, K01, K08, or K12.
  • New Researcher Awards: Researcher or Faculty in areas other than occupational health research who wish to apply their expertise to an occupational safety and health issue.

Graduate students and other junior investigators in occupational health and safety as well as faculty in areas other than occupational health research investigators with new interests in occupational health and safety are invited to submit applications for short-term research projects. Support for these projects is available through a supplemental Research Training award from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to the SWCOEH at UTHealth School of Public Health.

Please note: Following NIOSH requirements, applicants receiving support from this program should be junior faculty, new faculty investigators, or students. However, to increase research literacy and foster community-academic relationships, we also encourage proposals that include a partnership between a community organization with an occupational mission (e.g., workers’ association) in PHR6 and a faculty or student. The SWCOEH will work with interested communities to identify a suitable faculty or student who will act as PI of the PPRTP proposal. Interested organizations can contact the program officials at pilotprojects@uth.tmc.edu for further information.

To learn more about the Pilot Projects Research Training Program, see a list of the current as well as the past grants awarded by fiscal year here. In addition, you can see a list of outcomes of the program (e.g., publications, presentations, funded projects) by fiscal year here.  You can view the most recent awardees' presentations here:  21st Annual Pilot Projects Research Symposium.


SWCOEH Homepage

Information

Award Information

Award Name: Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health

Federal Award Identification Number: T42 OH008421

Award Year: July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022

Awards are made competitively and on a one-time basis for a maximum of one year (with funding to end on June 30th of the corresponding fiscal year as set by the funding agency) without possibility of renewal, extension or a carry forward.

Federal Awarding Agencies: Department of Health and Human Services; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Sub-Award Flow-Through Requirements

Applicable Regulations: 45 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 75, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for HHS Awards

45 CFR Part 75 supersedes regulations at 45 CFR Part 74 and Part 92

Eligible Applicants

The Pilot Projects program aims to provide a support mechanism for research projects initiated by personnel at any institution located within Public Health Region 6 (PHR 6) (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas), including those with Training Program Grants. Funds are available for three categories of awards including:

  • Research Trainee Awards: Graduate doctoral students or postdoctoral fellows in an occupational health and safety-related discipline.
  • Junior Investigator Awards: New investigators with research interests in the general area of occupational health and safety. Junior investigators are defined as faculty who have not served as PI on any Public Health Service (PHS)-supported research grants other than a R03, R15, R21, K01, K08, or K12.
  • New Researcher Awards: Researchers or Faculty in areas other than occupational health research who wish to apply their expertise to an occupational safety and health issue.
  • Previous Pilot Project Awardees are not eligible to reapply with the exception of previous Research Trainee Awardees who could reapply as Junior Investigators. To be eligible to re-apply in this category, potential applicants must have evidence of at least one outcome (e.g., publication, grant proposal or award) resulting from the prior award as Research Trainee.

Availability/Use of Funds 

Approximately $50,000 is available in the upcoming 2021-2022 fiscal year, ending on June 30, 2022, to fund up to 5 short-term, high impact research projects. The maximum total cost amount to a single project will be $10,000 for both Research Trainee and Junior Investigators awards.  New Researcher may apply for a maximum of $20,000. Awards are made competitively and on a one-time basis for a maximum of one year (with funding to end on 6/30/2022) without possibility of renewal.  Funding is contingent upon NIOSH’s notice of renewal award to the SWCOEH for the corresponding fiscal year.

Only one application per applicant is allowed. Awards will be made on a one-time basis with an end date of June 30, 2022.

Use

Funding is designed to directly support the implementation of the research plan. Salary support for the investigator is discouraged and administrative staff support will not be allowed. Course costs (i.e., tuition and fees) are not an allowable expense. Additionally, the budgeting of computers into the proposals is not an allowable expense unless it is an essential need to conduct the research (e.g., a laptop to collect data during the field work; but not simply data entry).

All applicants are encouraged to request that their institutions waive indirect cost requirements. Should indirect cost requirements not be waived, the program will only support up to 8% of the direct costs. Proof of IDC Waiver application to the applicant organization must be submitted with the proposal packet. Whether IDC is waived or not by the applicant organization, a letter from the applicant organization stating such must also be submitted.

Programmatic Interest

All proposed projects must be relevant to the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) (http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs) and clearly identify the research goals according to the most recent NIOSH Strategic Plan (https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/about/strategicplan). Of particular interest to our program will be projects that address Total Worker Health® goals and responsive to the National TWH Agenda (2016-2026) (https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/twh/nationalagenda.html). All proposals should emphasize basic or applied research that brings especially innovative perspectives or paradigms, ideas, and/or approaches to occupational safety and health research. All applications should address occupational health and safety needs in federal Public Health Region 6, foster the research career of the Principal Investigator, and promote research capacity-building in Region 6. Projects not addressing specific NIOSH goals or relevance to Region 6 will cause the application to be determined non-responsive, and will not be reviewed further.

Submitted applications for the Junior Investigator and Research Trainee award categories should originate from areas within the traditional occupational safety and health related disciplines such as occupational medicine, occupational health nursing, industrial hygiene, occupational safety, ergonomics, toxicology, occupational epidemiology, and Total Worker Health®. Applications for the New Researcher award category should originate from investigators in areas other than those listed above but with applicability to one of those areas. 

Application Instructions

SWCOEH Pilot Projects Research Training Application

The receipt date for proposals is April 23, 2021. Submit applications to the following email. PilotProjects@uth.tmc.edu.

Proposal Format Instructions and Guidelines for Submission:

Please click here for a printable version of the Application Instructions and Guidelines.

NIH Grant Guidelines click here.

Awardee Requirements:

Successful awardees will be required:

1. To complete a short progress report due every quarter to briefly document their progress toward the objectives of their awarded project. This brief report should present research activities to date, progress made toward project objectives, unexpected delays or events which might influence the achievement of project objectives, and plans to address any delays or unexpected events.

2. To give an oral presentation of their study results at the SWCOEH Virtual Research Symposium to be held in June 18, 2022.  You can view the most recent awardees' presentations here:  21st Annual Pilot Projects Research Symposium

3. To submit a final report written in manuscript form and adhering to journal guidelines due at the completion of the project. A list and copies/reprints of any publications resulting from the project must be included in this final report.

4. To acknowledge the funding support in presentations and publications emanating from the pilot awards.

5. To complete a short annual survey requesting updates on program outcomes for a period of 5 years after the end of the funding period.  This information will be used to demonstrate the impact and value of the program as well as for program improvement.

Evaluation Criteria:

The mechanism for funding projects through this Program will be a competitive process modeled after the National Institutes of Health enhanced peer review system and modified to meet the purpose of this RFA. Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated by the SWCOEH for completeness and responsiveness. Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications will not be reviewed. If the proposed project involves organizations or persons other than those affiliated with the applicant institution, letters of support must be included.

Applications that are complete and responsive to the announcement will be reviewed by a Scientific Review Panel composed of internal and external peer reviewers and will be determined to be scientifically meritorious or non-meritorious based on review criteria described below. Non-meritorious applications will be withdrawn from further consideration and the principal investigator will be notified. Meritorious applications will be assigned a priority score based on scientific merit. Following this first-level review, the applications will undergo a Programmatic Review for relevance to the goals and objectives of this RFA. 

Criteria for the Scientific and Programmatic Review

Notices:

Funding is contingent upon NIOSH’s notice of award to the SWCOEH for the corresponding fiscal year.

Budgets must be inclusive of direct and indirect costs and must include travel for a presentation of results at the UTHealth School of Public Health. Supplements will not be awarded.

Appropriate approvals must be obtained prior to the Scientific Review and awards for use of animals, human subjects, radioisotopes, biohazards or other special approvals.

Decisions of the review panel will be final.

Key Dates:

April 6, 2021 - Notice of Intent:  Include the name and contact information of the proposed PI, the participating institution and the NORA goals the project will address.

April 23, 2021 - Notice of intent and the completed application

June 1, 2021 - Announcement Award

Submit applications to the following email PilotProjects@uth.tmc.edu
Funds cannot be disbursed to any awardee until all pertinent institutional review board (IRB) or institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) approvals are received by the Pilot Projects Research Training Program Coordinator.

Funded Projects

2020-2021

Sumit Mandal, PhD
Oklahoma State University
Using Artificial Neural Network Modeling to Analyze the Thermal Protective and Thermo-physiological Comfort Performance of Oil and Gas Industry Workers’ Clothing

Pedram Roghanchi, PhD
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Respirable crystalline silica dust characteristics and sources in the mining industry

Jennifer Scott, PhD
Louisiana State University
Avoiding Sonographer Injury - Randomized Controlled Trial of Standard and Specialized Prenatal Sonography with Restricted compared to Usual Daily Exposure to Obese Gravidas (Prenatal SONO study)

Mark Wilson, PhD
Tulane University
Physiological and psychological impacts of fabric face masks in the occupational environment: an assessment of real perceived heat stress, cardiovascular load, and work rate

Jianan Zhao, MA
Oklahoma State University
Mitigating infection risks to airborne SARS-CoV-2 laden aerosols in the patient rooms via in-table air sanitizers and smart ventilation control


2019 - 2020

2018 - 2019

2017 - 2018

 

 

Contact Information

For Additional Information

Jenil R. Patel, PhD
Assistant Professor and Director
SWCOEH Pilot Projects Research Training Program
UTHealth School of Public Health – Dallas
Phone: (972) 546-2957
E-Mail: Jenil.Patel@uth.tmc.edu or PilotProjects@uth.tmc.edu

Silvia P. Santiago, MAHS
Program Coordinator
SWCOEH Pilot Projects Research Training Program
UTHealth School of Public Health
Phone: (713) 500-9444
E-mail: Silvia.P.Santiago@uth.tmc.edu  or  PilotProjects@uth.tmc.edu